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CDC: Americans Are Skipping Doses Due To Drug Costs. Here's Help For Myeloma Patients
Posted: Feb 03, 2015
CDC: Americans Are Skipping Doses Due To Drug Costs. Here's Help For Myeloma Patients image

As anyone with a chronic illness knows far too well, the cost of drugs can be staggering. Even with excellent health insurance, co-pays and deductibles mean that one in 10 Americans are skipping doses, not filling their prescriptions at all, or are getting “creative” in getting their drugs, like having them filled outside the country, according a report recently released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). In fact, about one in every 50 American adults purchased their prescription drugs outside the United States because the costs were significantly less. "Adults who do not take prescription medication as prescribed have been shown to have poorer health status and increased emergency room use, hospitalizations and cardiovascular events," said Robin Cohen of the NCHS's Division of Health Interview Statistics which authored the report. “Skipping doses has real consequences,” says Lizzy Smith, a multiple myeloma survivor. “Not long ago, I was at clinic and the patient next to me was there because he had stopped taking his medication because he couldn’t afford it and developed a blood clot in his leg.” For patients with multiple myeloma, there are resources to help with some drugs. As has been reported here at Myeloma Crowd, here are four excellent resources to help cover out-of-pocket costs. Note that in most cases, patients need not meet stringent income requirements and the application process takes just a few minutes over the phone with approval granted almost immediately. Chronic Disease Fund 877-968-7233 press option #0 Approvals are granted same-day. Patients must have medical insurance coverage, been prescribed a medication that is part of the CDF Formulary and meet program income criteria. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 877-557-2672 The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Co-Pay Assistance Program helps pay insurance premiums and meet co-pay obligations. It also finds additional sources of financial aid. The Co-Pay Assistance Program offers financial help toward:

  • Blood cancer treatment-related co-payments
  • Private health insurance premiums
  • Medicare Part B, Medicare Plan D, Medicare Supplementary Health Insurance, Medicare Advantage premium, Medicaid Spend-down or co-pay obligations

For myeloma, there is up to $10,000 in assistance for those who qualify:

  • Have a household income that is at or below 500 percent of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines as adjusted by the Cost of Living Index (COLI)
  • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Puerto Rico and be medically and financially qualified
  • Have prescription insurance coverage
  • Have an LLS Co-Pay Assistance Program-covered blood cancer diagnosis confirmed by a doctor (see covered diagnoses listed above)
Patient Access Network Foundation

866-316-7263 Up to $10,000 per year to help cover medication co-pays. To qualify, patients must meet these criteria:

  • Insured and insurance covers the medication for which the patient seeks assistance
  • The medication must treat the disease directly
  • Patient’s income must be below a designated percentage of the Federal Poverty Level, depending on individual fund requirements
  • Patient is prescribed a high cost drug for the disease, depending on individual fund requirements
  • Patient must reside and receive treatment in the US. They do not need to be a US citizen
Celgene Patient Support

800-931-8691 Celgene offers the following support to qualifying patiens:

  • Co-pay Assistance: Patients may be eligible for help to reduce medication co-pays to $25 or less. This depends on the insurance coverage and what Celgene medication the patient’s doctor has prescribed
  • Celgene Free Medication Program: Patients who don’t currently have any health insurance or enough insurance to cover the cost of medication, may qualify for free Celgene medications
  • Transportation Assistance: Celgene Patient Support can help locate options to assist with the costs of traveling to and from a doctor’s office
The author Lizzy Smith

about the author
Lizzy Smith

Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.

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